Friday, July 10, 2009

Everyone Likes a Quiz - Test Your Knowledge

Dear Blog Readers,

It's time to test your knowledge about food safety and home food preservation. I'm going to give you a scenario and then solicit your feedback. I'll post the answers to this little quiz on Monday. But for now, here are the directions:

1. Read the problem.
2. Find the errors.
3. Propose your solutions.

Ready? Here you go.

The Scenario: "I created and canned my own salsa recipe. I used onions and peppers and squash. I added tomatoes and fresh lemon juice and even some vinegar. I used the open kettle method to finish it up. I poured it into jars and put on the lids.

That's it. That's the scenario. You, the jury, have the evidence. Please render your verdicts.


  1. Just enroll me in remedial food things class right now. I won't fight you or complain. About the only thing I see wrong is that you didn't immediately eat it with warm chips! Where's the dunce cap??

    Best regards, Galen

    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  2. No dunce cap. This is not about put-downs. This is some serious stuff. Seriously! You're a consumer of products and this concerns you very much.

  3. The jars need to be sterilised first and after filling, need to be processed in a hot water bath. It doesn't appear that a recipe was followed to ensure correct amounts of the various ingredients were used. (I've never canned salsa ~ only jam.)

  4. Thanks Kate. Check in Monday to see the results. I appreciate your input.

  5. First, I would have tested the pH. If the pH was low below 4.6, I would have processed it in Boil Bath method for 10 minutes. Of course, adjusting bath time for altitude. If the pH was higher than 4.6, then I would have processed it in a Pressure Canner for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on jar size at 10 pounds pressure. Again, adjusting pounds of pressure for altitude. I wouldn't use the Open Kettle method at all.

  6. Thanks Serina, I like the way this is going. Please check back Monday.

  7. I think the problem started at the point when I thought I could potentially make homemade salsa. :)

    Other than that, I'm wondering about if the jars were sterile, utensils sterile. Wondering if vinegar is supposed to go in there or if it accelerates bacteria growth? I'm fumbling, here.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  8. Good fumble recovery, Elizabeth. Fumbles often lead to touchdowns.

  9. First one has to know what "open kettle method" is. I am so ignorant when it comes to things like this I will just look forward to your answer on Monday. How ya feeling about your published book? Doesn't it look fabulous on your bookshelf??

  10. Karen, I understand and am so glad you drop by to comment. Yes, it feels great and I think I'm finally getting my head above water on the publicity part of it.

  11. First off the open kettle method is no longer considered a safe canning method. Second she used her own recipe which means in terms of acidity it may or may not meet the proper pH levels. If the pH is above 4.6 then the product has to be pressure canned but if below then it can be processed in a BWB canner. In this case testing for pH would determine which method of processing should be used. Third, squash is too dense to can unless it is left in cubes which is quite unlikely in this case although a little zucchini would be find providing the pH is in the right range. The canning methods said nothing about wiping the rims, adjusting the lids or processing times. In this case depending on acidity pressure canning would be recommended for the time of the longest ingredient, in this case onions.


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~ I'm the author of Headwind: The Intrepid Adventures of OSS Agent Katrin Nissen. If you're a WWII buff, you'll like it here!